WASHINGTON — Three-term Republican Sen. Pat Roberts edged out Milton Wolf in Kansas' primary Tuesday as mainstream conservatives dealt another blow to the tea party movement.
With 79 percent of the precincts reporting, Roberts held a 48 percent to 41 percent advantage over Wolf, a radiologist and distant cousin of President Barack Obama who had argued that the incumbent wasn't conservative enough. Two other primary candidates combined for 11 percent of the vote.
The Senate's establishment is on a roll, with incumbents also prevailing in Texas, Kentucky, South Carolina and Mississippi, though it took six-term Sen. Thad Cochran two tries before defeating Chris McDaniel, who is challenging the outcome.
The GOP establishment blames the tea party for costing it Senate control in 2010 and 2012 as outside candidates stumbled in the general election.
Tuesday also offered primaries in Michigan, Missouri and Washington state. Businessman Dave Trott easily defeated Rep. Kerry Bentivolio in Michigan's 11th Congressional District, a reversal of the recent political order of tea partiers aiming to knock out an establishment favorite.
Bentivolio is the third House incumbent to lose in the primary, joining Republican Reps. Eric Cantor of Virginia and Ralph Hall of Texas.